It Takes a Village
I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “It Takes A Village” in reference to raising kids. I think it’s true in terms of growing an author, too! We need support, encouragement, advice, and sometimes a helping hand.
Writing can be a lonely and solitary endeavor. A writer spends so much time alone with nothing but her thoughts and a computer. When I’m deep into a book and really working on plot and characters, I like the quietness of being alone. I need that to really focus.
But I also find that I need the encouragement and stimulation of working with other authors and readers to stay energized. Networking and connecting with others can give me perspective, a sense of being grounded or on track. I need to hear what other authors are doing. I need feedback on my work from readers and critique partners. I enjoy the camaraderie of “being in this together.” Without that, I can easily start feeling lost, like I’m simply flailing around with no direction, no mile markers.
I belong to several writers’ groups, and have been surprised to find so many authors in the same place – many of us struggling with the same issues. I’ve been fortunate to find people who are welcoming, and friendly, ready to share their knowledge and experiences. Seems to me that we all benefit from sharing with each other – marketing efforts that worked or didn’t, tips and tricks for promotions, etc. Don’t be afraid of other authors. We’re not competitors. People who read don’t just read one book or one author. There are a lot of voracious readers out there who are always on the lookout for new books and authors. They talk books and share recommendations with other readers. It’s part of being in this bookish community. Welcome to the village!
In the past few weeks ago, I’ve had the opportunity to network with some bloggers, critique a fellow author’s newest chapters, offer advice to someone on a Facebook group feed, and help another author set up her Author pages on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. Through a local writer’s group, I met a librarian who later told me something I’d said clarified her focus for a new Read Local initiative she’s working on! I also met another author, and within a couple of months, we were sharing posts on each other’s websites. Through her, I joined another group, and met other authors. I was able to be of assistance to a new acquaintance, and through her, was invited to participate in a reader/author event. That’s the power of connection.
Some of it is just plain paying it forward. Lend a hand now, maybe one will be there for me when I need it. But it’s also fun, and gives me an opportunity in a small way to feel as if I’m making progress. After all, if I know how to do something and can help someone else, that means I’m not the newest of newbies anymore, right? I’ve got some experiences under my belt. And through those, I’ve learned a thing or two. Sharing with others gives me encouragement – maybe I’m getting there. And I love the feeling of being in this together rather than being competitors. Working together makes the process better for everyone!
Darlene Deluca is the author of several women’s fiction and contemporary romance books that focus on relationships — what brings people together or keeps them apart.
She has a degree in journalism, and many years of experience in writing and editing in corporate America, parenting and volunteering. Lover of books, tea, dark chocolate, and the beach.